Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure

Monday, June 26, 2006

To Make a Long Story Short....

We headed down to NY and NJ over the weekend to visit friends and family. Before we left, Jeff changed Brendon's infusion set. When he took out the old one, pus came out of the site...ergo infection.

He put antibiotic cream on it as usual and didn't think anything of it because there was no redness around the site.

Yet, on the drive down, Brendon started complaining that the old site hurt. I started getting worried because he never complains about pain unless something is REALLY painful.

I took a look and sure enough it was bright red around the site. I told Jeff that we'd need to call Children's and have the endo call in a prescription for an antibiotic because it would only get worse. Plus I remember his endo saying that if there was ever an infection, then to call because it could get nasty.

By the time we reached our destination, the site had a big red welt the size of a baseball around it and Brendon could barely walk.

We got the prescription, but he was hobbling around the whole weekend, he was so uncomfortable. He didn't complain one bit though. That kid puts up with so much.
*All is well and healing nicely.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Can I Have A Side Of Kidney With That Pancreas?

My cousin, who's had Type 1 since he was 7, just received a pancreas and kidney transplant a week ago. He's 32 years old.

He's home now and needs to wear a mask when he goes out. Everything he comes into contact with has to be sterilized...this goes on for at least a month because his immune system is being depleted by the meds he's on. But, that part of recovery is temporary. Once they change his meds and the dosage, he should be up and running.

So for now, he doesn't need dialysis twice a week for 6 hours a pop and he doesn't need to take insulin anymore.

This is supposed to last for 5 years until he needs another transplant of one or the other organ, or both.

It's so strange to know that he doesn't have to take insulin anymore and that, for now, he isn't diabetic anymore.

As kids, he was always set apart from the rest of us cousins as the one with diabetes...the one who was a bit special because of the attention he needed. We always took it with stride and never made him feel different because, well, he wasn't different. He could run and play with the rest of us.

Now he's not the Scott I've always known...and I'm happy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Couldn't Be Prouder of My Son

Brendon earned the opportunity to test for his orange belt in Karate on Saturday. Jeff took him in for the test and left for a little while to run some errands. In the middle of testing, Brendon started feeling low and asked to see his father. Mr. M's assistant, who was giving the test didn't know that Brendon had diabetes, so he refused to let Brendon leave the room.

Brendon started sobbing and Mr. M was asked to come and deal with him. He brought Brendon to the waiting area just as Jeff came back. The glucose meter showed a 45. He was given a juice and a snack. In between sobs, he was insisting that he be brought home. He just didn't want to continue.

Mr. M didn't want him to leave. He told Brendon he got through the hardest part and just needed to do a few more combinations. He was trying to pep talk Brendon into finishing, not realizing that Brendon simply wasn't himself.

Once Brendon's glucose started to rise, he calmed down, took some deep breaths, and snuggled next to his father. Soon, he felt well enough to continue the testing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Conversation From The Backseat Of My Minivan

Carpool Boy: Ask your mom if you can come over.

Brendon: OK.

Carpool Boy: We can go in the sprinklers. It'll be so cool.

Brendon: Yeah, that would be cool. Oh, wait a minute. I can't go in the sprinklers because of my pump.

So much for those lazy hazy crazy days of summer. Gotta sit the boy down and tell him that it's OK to go in the sprinklers.

Meme Time

Here are Lyrehca's questions to moi (must practice writing and speaking French for my trip!)

1. Vanilla or chocolate? And if chocolate, what kind (milk, dark or white)?

I like any kind of chocolate, but I've grown to like dark the best.

2. In five years, what do you want to look back on and be most excited by?

My trip to France next year. I think I'd be most excited by that.

3. What's your favorite season?

The Fall. Between the colors, temperature, the smell of smoke from chimneys, and the holidays, Fall is my favoritist.

4. In 30 years, will you go to your high school reunion? Your college reunion? An elementary school reunion? Why or why not?

My college and elementary school doesn't have reunions. I would go to my H.S. reunion just to see how everyone looks and whether the popular kids are still losers.

5. How have you been affected as a result of keeping a blog?

Blogging has gotten me back in touch with writing which I always dreamed would be my profession in one form or another.

I also feel much more at ease with Brendon's future based on the entries that PWD have made about their experiences. I'm not afraid for him anymore.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Is Karate My Calling?

Yesterday, during Brendon's karate class, a mom who I talk to regularly when we both attend at the same time with our boys, turned to me with big bright eyes and said

"So I hear you're joining karate!!!"

"Who told you that?"

"So when are you going to join?"

"Seriously, who told you that?"

"Mr. M (the intructor) told me. He said that L and Brendon's Mom are joining. When he told me, I said AWESOME!! I'm the only girl in the class, so it would be great if both of you joined too."

"How often do you come to class?"

"Every night."

So there you have it. Brendon's karate instructor is starting a campaign to get me to join up. The sneak told this particular mom because he knows I talk to her during the entire session each time we bring our boys in to class, and since she comes in every night for herself, he must've known she'd work on me to join.

I just don't know if I have it in me. I think I have undiganosed dyslexia. In college, I had a gym elective and back then, golf was the sport of choice. I signed up too late...the spots were taken up. Karate was the only other sport that interested me.

The instructor was a wisp of a man. He was probably 5'8", maybe 145 lbs, and wiry. He was also extremely strict considering we'd never make it past white belt since this class only lasted one semester.

He treated the college gymnasium as though it were an authentic dojo. And he'd threaten us knowing that we college students would cut corners whenever we could.

He'd warn us that even if he wasn't in the dojo when we entered, we better sure as hell bow to each wall. He said, "You never know when I could be crawling around the rafters up above, like a ninja ready to pounce if I catch you not following dojo etiquette."

And so we were petrified, and bowed everytime we entered the gym...I mean dojo.

He'd make us do grueling workouts. I had abs of steel. I had to have them for sheer survival because there were big ass football players in the class, and one of the ab exercises required each of us to step on the stomach of all the students as though we were stepping on stones trying to cross a babbling brook.

The friggin sadistic football players took great delight in each "oomf!!" and "uuuugh" they could force out of our mouths when they would literally stomp on us. I would see them coming and brace myself for the inevitable pounding of my internal organs.

I loved the workouts for the toning, but the karate moves were a different story.

The instructor would demonstrate some twisting-turning-punch-kick move and would have each of us repeat it individually. It came to be my turn and I attempted the move.

He was laughing hysterically as he said:

"Shannon, I don't know what you just did, but that was the funniest thing I ever saw."

I was completely humiliated, but being that I can laugh at myself, I laughed too, as did everyone else in the class.

Maybe I'll join afterall and prove to myself that I can get past that moment.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I'm The Luckiest Girl In. The. World.

School is almost ending...summer is coming upon us...and Jacob will be going to preschool in September!!

I will have 2 hours and 15 minutes of unadulterated alone time, 3 days per week (he'll be in with Jessica). So I'm contemplating what to do with that time.

I could clean the house without interruption, or go grocery shopping, or, better yet, do something just for me!

I'm opting for the "just for me" part. Getting in shape seems to be the thing that attracts me most. Can you imagine what I can do with 2 hours, 3 days per week?

1. Brendon's karate instructor said if I could get 3 other moms to participate, he offered to give us private karate instruction.

2. I could join a gym and workout.

3. I could do pilates.

4. Or yoga.

5. I could even exercise my brain and take a course somewhere, learning something.

I'm looking forward to summer, but I'm also looking forward to "me" time that I haven't had in 6 years.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Write Short, Write Quick" Workshop Assignment

My notion of motherhood turned on its heels and ran away the moment my son was diagnosed with diabetes. I did all I could to prevent harm to my son, Brendon, starting from the time before I conceived him. But nothing I did prevented him from developing Type 1 diabetes.

When my husband and I made the decision to start a family, I began surfing the net, searching for websites that would give me information on how to successfully conceive. I read articles giving advice to take multi-vitamins, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and most importantly, make sure to get enough folic acid to prevent birth defects! No mother wants their baby to have birth defects.

During my pregnancy I continued to eat all of the right foods, and avoided eating the wrong ones. I followed advice on how often to exercise, which moves were best for a pregnant woman, and which were to be avoided. I did everything I was supposed to do to have a healthy pregnancy, which was supposed to provide a healthy baby.

When Brendon was born, he had all ten fingers and toes, his APGAR was 9, and everyone who saw him thought he was the cutest baby in the kidding. I succeeded in giving birth to a healthy, handsome baby boy. The effort I put into having a healthy baby paid off. I was well on my way to becoming a good mother.

So it was when, in the ER, Brendon lay on a gurney, limp, seemingly lifeless, with shallow breath and sallow skin that I thought my vibrant, talkative, robust Brendon was gone, and in his place was a boy that I didn’t count on having as a son. Nothing I did to protect him from harm prevented the condition he was in. My mothering failed his health.

I was completely devastated by the condition of my son. I was afraid of the life he was in for, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to prevent the complications that I was sure he was destined for in the form of amputations, stroke, heart attack, and every other possible complication diabetes provides. I felt soulless, like everything I ever knew, thought, and counted on was pulled out from underneath me. I was left with nothing familiar. I had nothing to grip onto that would assure me that my goals and plans for living the life I planned for my family would ever be possible. In other words, I couldn’t predict the future. And the future I imagined always came true because I worked so hard to make it so.

While Brendon was at the hospital for the next seven days, my husband would stay over night with him as I drove back to the house we were living in while waiting to close on the home we had in New York. While driving, I would cry the cry of mourning...mourning the loss of the son I worked so hard to nourish, and nurture. I was angry at what life dealt me. On one of these drives back to the house, I thought, “Why me? “Why is this happening to me?” And it was at that moment that I realized how self-centered I was. How totally unlike a mother I was.

Nothing happened to me. It happened to my son. He’s the one who has diabetes. He’s the one that, ten times a day, has to have the tender skin on his perfect ten fingers pricked to draw blood to test his blood sugars. He’s the one that has to have up to five shots per day of life saving, and hopefully, health preserving insulin injected into his skin. He’s the one who feels like crap when his numbers are too high or too low. He’s the one who will have to deal with this for the rest of his life. I, simply, will be the one to tend to the management of his diabetes until he is out on his own. I, simply, am someone who has to maintain some semblance of routine, so that he can pick up where I left off and carry on for the rest of his life the awesome responsibility of managing diabetes in order to hopefully avoid complications, and to also, simply live.

The morning after my realization of how unlike a mother I was, I returned to the hospital, walked to my son’s room, and I stood at the foot of his bed and looked at the face of a tiny boy dressed in a hospital gown with tubes and machines invading his body. He looked back at me. Neither of us said a word to each other. It was as though my 2 1/2 year old son knew exactly what had to be done.

I looked at him from the perspective of a child. As I stared into his face, I imagined what he needed to see in my own his mother’s face. And what he showed me was that he was scared, so he needed a mother whose face showed him that she was OK which meant that he was OK too. So I showed him a serene, smiling face. Then I listened closely to his inner voice. I imagined what he needed to hear in my own his mother’s voice. And what he told me was that he was scared, so he needed a mother whose voice told him that she was OK which meant that he was OK too. So I spoke to him with a soothing, matter of fact voice.

That brief, silent exchange revealed to me the true meaning of what a mother is. A mother provides what her child needs, not what she needs to provide her child.